Tag Archives: national

China launches Rocket ahead planned mission to Mars.


China Friday launched one of the world’s most powerful rockets in a major step forward for its planned mission to Mars in 2020. N.Rs learnt

The heavy lift Long March 5 rocket carrying a test satellite payload blasted off from the Wenchang launch site on the southern island of Hainan at 8:45 pm (1245 GMT), a livestream from state broadcaster CCTV showed.

“After more than 2,000 seconds, the Shijian 20 satellite was sent into its predetermined orbit,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.


The rocket launch “tests key technologies related to future space missions,” Xinhua said.

The successful launch is a key part of China’s ambitious plans for a mission to the Red Planet next year and hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022.


“The Long March 5 rocket is tasked with important missions,” Wu Yanhua, the deputy head of China’s National Space Administration, said in a video released by CCTV last week.

“It will be tasked with a series of key missions including launching China’s first Mars probe, the Chang’e-5 lunar probe and a core module for the manned space station.”


The rocket is carrying a Shijian 20 test satellite, according to space news site NASASpaceFlight.com.

Friday’s success comes after a previous attempt in July 2017 failed mid-launch.


The Long March 5 Y2 was supposed to put the Shijian 18 experimental communications satellite into orbit and its failure delayed plans to use the rocket in a planned mission to collect lunar samples in the second half of 2017.

China successfully launched the first Long March 5 in November 2016, which it said at the time was the most powerful launcher it had yet developed.


The Long March 5, which is capable of carrying up to 25 tonnes, is comparable in capacity to the US-made Delta IV Heavy and Russia’s Proton-M, some of the most powerful launchers in existence, according to NASASpaceFlight.com.

By contrast the US’s Saturn V, which delivered astronauts to the Moon in 1969, was designed to deliver some 140 tonnes of payload into low Earth orbit.


Space ambitions
Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space programme in an effort to catch up with its rival the United States and affirm its status as a major world power.

In 2003, the Asian giant, which now spends more than Russia and Japan on its civil and military space programmes, became only the third nation to put a human into orbit.


In January 2019, China became the first nation to land a probe on the far side of the Moon.

The Chang’e-4 lander — named after the Moon goddess in Chinese mythology — released a rover in the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken Basin shortly after New Year.


In November China completed a test of its Mars exploration lander, ahead of its first mission to the Red Planet slated for 2020 which is planned to deploy a rover to explore the Martian surface.

China also aims to have a manned space station in orbit in 2022.


The Tiangong — or “Heavenly Palace” — is set to replace the International Space Station, which is due to be retired in 2024.

China will also seek to build an international lunar base, possibly using 3D printing technology, in the future, Wu said in January.

China’s space programme has alarmed the US, which fears that Beijing will threaten its dominance in space.

The White House announced the creation of a new military arm called the Space Force earlier this month, with President Donald Trump calling space “the world’s newest warfighting domain.”


#Newsworthy…

Nigeria in a big hole – Danjuma Theophilus.

Theophilus Danjuma, Nigeria’s former Minister of Defence has said that the country is at a very disturbing bend in its journey as a sovereign state.

Danjuma, who spoke at the launch of a book by the Nigerian Tribune in Ibadan, Oyo State, stated that happenings in the country outside public knowledge were so frightening that citizens need to rise up and challenge the situation.

He said, “People appear not to care about what is happening. “If I tell you what I know that is happening in Nigeria today, you will no longer sleep. If you want details, I will give it to you privately. We are in a big hole as a nation.

“And people who put us in this hole have continued today. So, we have to wake up. Only we can save ourselves. The fifth columnist activities going on among your people are not helping matters.

“May Almighty God continue to bless this country. But only we can save ourselves from ourselves.”

#Newsworthy…

Oshiomhole – I tried reconciling with Obaseki on several occasions

…bullshit Allegation of playing godfather

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Friday claimed he made numerous efforts to bring peace to the Edo State APC, describing as “bullshit” the allegation that he was playing godfather in Edo State.

Speaking in a television interview, Oshiomhole said, “As part of my efforts to resolve the problems in Edo State, there was a time the governor told me he would not have anything to do with Charles Idahosa because he lost his booth during his own governorship election; but it was here in this my living room that I invited Idahosa and he did not know the governor was coming, I invited the governor he did not know Idahosa was coming.

“When the governor entered the room, Idahosa sat and said he was not going to have a handshake with him and used a language for me that was derogatory. I said ‘No, Charles. You cannot talk like that. This is the governor and you must respect him.’ And I said, ‘Governor, please whatever Charles has done that you are not happy about, we have won, put them behind you.’ I said in this business, if you didn’t work with people because of their electoral value, sometimes you would work with them because of their nuisance value. So you would not gain by saying you wouldn’t work with this one or this one.”

He mentioned Rev Egharevba and Prince Eweka as examples of other party stalwarts that had conflicts with the governor and he had to intervene.

“My own embarrassment is when they say Oshiomhole wants to be like a godfather. If I wanted to be, I will be nominating commissioners. I only persuaded him to accept one commissioner from me, only one and I gave my reasons. He was a founding member of my campaign organisation in 2006, Mika. Other than Mika, I did not nominate any commissioner; I did not nominate any special adviser, special assistant because for me these are governance issues. So where is the godfather from?

Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has rejected the composition of the APC National Reconciliation Committee led by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan.

In a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu; and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, it alleged that the committee comprised by persons with vested interests in the crisis rocking the ruling party.

It also alleged that some of the members of the committee such as Senator Lawan and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, meddled in the altercation between Edo State Government and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, and could not now be adjudicators on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Edo State chapter of the APC on Friday said Anselm Ojezua’s call for Oshiomhole to resign was an attack on his person and the exalted office, adding that it amounted to the highest level of insubordination and arrogance.

When contacted, Ojezua insisted he remained the chairman of the APC in the state and that Col. David Imuse, who is recognised by the national leadership of the party as the acting chairman of the party in the state, did not exist.

#Newsworthy…

Imo experiencing liberation – APP national chairman.

National Chairman of Action People’s Party and Publicity Secretary of Colition of United political parties, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere said yesterday was day of liberation for the people of Imo state following the judgement of the Apex Court was declared that Uche Nwosu was never a candidate of the Action Alliance in the 2019 gubernatorial election.

This was just as he noted that the Apex Court’s ruling of today has already the nullified his appeal before to the Supreme court that he be declared winner of the 2019 Imo governorship election.

It would be recalled that the APP National Chairman has filed a suit against the eligibility of Uche Nwosu to contest the 2019 governorship election having been nominated by both the All progressives Congress and Action Alliance .

The APP National Chairman who stated this at a press conference in Owerri , the Imo state Capital said that with the Apex Court’s decision that Uche Nwosu was never a candidate of the Action Alliance has already nullified his election petition appeal before the supreme Court.

According to him it is Liberation day and a Christmas gift to Imo people and an end to the Okorocha’s quest to continue the plundering and destruction of Imo state
He said , ” the Supreme Court has just a few minutes ago finally quashed the over bloated governorship ambition of Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law of former Governor Rochas Okorocha and his stooge through which Okorocha would have continued his stranglehold on the resources of Imo State and technically be holding office for a third term.

In a unanimous judgment, the Court in a Suit filed by the Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere led Action Peoples Party, APP, held that by virtue of Uche Nwosu’s double candidature and in line with the clear provisions of the Electoral Act, he was bound to be disqualified from the election and affirmed the judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal.”

By this judgment, the Election Petition Appeal against the election of Governor Emeka Ihedioha also before the apex court by Uche Nwosu is also dead and buried.

This is because Uche Nwosu was not a validly nominated candidate for the election and therefore lacks the locus to file a petition before the Governorship Election Tribunal.”

The National Chairman of the Action Peoples Party who expressed joy that his Party was the one that sealed the fate of the Okorochas and liberated Imo State from their shackle.

He also called on the EFCC and the ICPC to take advantage of this judgment which has permanently robbed Uche Nwosu of his planned immunity and investigate him, Senator Rochas Okorocha and their ilk with a view to recovering every Imo kobo stolen by them.

#Newsworthy…

Jeff Van Drew join President Trump in the Republican party

…dump the Democrats.

President Donald Trump has announced that Rep. Jeff Van Drew would join the Republican Party, a day after the New Jersey congressman and one other Democrat voted against both articles of impeachment.

Van Drew met with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy at the White House on Thursday, December 19th but looked to have already made up his mind Wednesday night. He sat with Republicans before the historic vote, receiving handshakes and fist bumps from GOP members.

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He crossed his arms when House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff presented the Democratic case for impeachment. And he gave McCarthy’s counter argument a standing ovation. “I think they were very kind, very gracious, very nice, very supportive,” said Van Drew about the Republican welcome on Wednesday night. “And I appreciated that.” Van Drew added that he thought Trump’s chances of reelection “are going to be even higher” after the Senate acquits the President.

Democrats are however moving quickly to keep the seat. Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University, announced on Monday that she would run and other Democrats are considering campaigns.

#Newsworthy…

FG inaugurates committee to oversee agric projects.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has inaugurated a 13-man Steering Committee for the implementation of Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE-ND) project, valued at over 90 million dollars in some states of the federation.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, while inaugurating the committee on Monday in Abuja, said the project was aimed at developing some agricultural commodities in nine states in the Niger Delta.

He said the commodities are cassava, plantain, rice, fish, cocoa, oil palm and poultry, adding that they had the potential to contribute immensely to annual agricultural productivity, food security and value chains development.

The minister pointed out that the nine benefiting states are Cross River, Rivers, Edo, Bayelsa, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Abia, and Delta.

According to him, the project will be implemented within a six year implementation period and another six years financing gaps, making a total of 12 years project cycle.

“The organisational framework of LIFE-ND project has four levels: Federal, Regional, State and Local Government.

“Today we are inaugurating the National Steering Committee to be chaired by the Minister and Permanent Secretary and composed of representatives from relevant departments and agencies.

“The national steering committee is expected to meet once in a year and its strategic role is to provide oversight functions in the implementation of LIFE-ND and also approve the Annual Work Plan and Budget.

“Under the implementation of LIFE-ND project, the federal government has identified priority value chains for the Niger Delta region,” he said.

Nanono said government’s plan to replicate the project in the remaining five geo-political zones of the country had reached an advanced stage.

He called for transparency and accountability in the implementation of the project.

The Director Project Coordinating Department in the ministry of agriculture, Maimuna Habiba, said the steering committee would ensure prudent use of funds for the project.

“This National Steering Committee is to ensure that there is prudent use of fund within the project life so that people do not spend the fund the way they like.

“This project is from IFAD and it is worth 60 million dollars for six states, funded by IFAD and the remaining three states get 30 million dollars, funded by NDDC”

“The entire project’s are supposed to create jobs, improve agricultural production, creation of value chain, and we link them to market. We have 10 projects under the Project Coordinating Department,” she said.

#Newsworthy…

Resign now for raising third-rate army in Edo – Ojezua tells Oshiomhole.

…Ignore Ojezua’s comments, Imuse is Edo APC chair

‎Factional Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Edo State, Aselm Ojezua, has accused the National Chairman of the party and the immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, of raising a third-rated army in Edo.

He made the accusation while addressing newsmen at the party’s secretariat in Benin on the recent political happenings within the party in the state.

He alleged that there had always been a grand plan by the national chairman of the party to create the impression of leadership crisis within the party.

“It is clear that there had all along been a grand plan to falsely create the impression of a crisis of leadership within the party in the state and these plans were hatched and executed under the directive of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and executed through his acclaimed ‘infantry division.’

“The ultimate objective of these activities appears to bring a forcible regime change in our party in defiance of democratic norms and the wishes of the people,” he further alleged.

Ojezua explained that the problems in the party started with the conduct of primaries to elective offices in 2018, adding that in accordance with the resolution passed by the National Executive Committee of the party, the leadership in the state decided their preference for the indirect mode but the national chairman decreed that it must be done by direct primaries.

He said in order not to unnecessarily heat up the polity, being sensitive of the fact that he is from the state, the Edo APC had to comply with his wish.

Ojezua also accused the national chairman of the party of singlehandedly foisting a group of strangers on the party in the state, contrary to the known traditions of politics in a manner so contemptuous that drew the angst of the leaders and members who came out in their large numbers to resist the attempt to undermine the party in the state.

Ojezua, therefore, called on Oshiomhole to resign from his position, considering all that had happened in the state and having been suspended in his ward, local government and the state.

“In the light of the foregoing, we have come to the conclusion that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole lacks the capacity, temperament and moral authority to lead this party as national chairman.

“In any case, having been placed on suspension as member of the party, he has lost the legitimacy to act in any capacity in the party,

“We draw particular attention to Article 21 of the constitution of the party which relates to disciplinary actions against members.

“In the circumstances, any action taken in the capacity of national chairman including documents he signs and meetings he presides over may well be futile as his membership is already compromised,” he said.

‎But in a swift reaction, State Secretary of the party, Mr. Lawrence Okah, said the call for Oshiomhole’s resignation was laughable because it was coming from members of the Obaseki/Shaibu Solidarity Movement and not APC members.

“Ojezua is the chairman of OSM and not APC. Col. Imuse is the authentic chairman of the APC and recognised by the NWC. I said it is laughable because we have not seen where a tenant will ask the landlord to leave the house. Obaseki and Ojezua are a bunch of confused men who have lost focus as to how a party is run.

‎”Eleven out of 16 members of the state exco signed for Ojezua’s removal and he has been removed according to the constitution.

“We urge our APC members to ignore comments from these OSM members because they have perfected plans to join the PDP. And we will not allow them to destroy APC which is part of their plot,” Okah said.

#Newsworthy…

Wedding photos of uche secondus daughter.

…Dino melaye, Woke, okowa, ihedioha present

PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus, was in a celebratory mood on Saturday December 14th as his daughter Sharon, got married to her fiance, Binunudu Agwo, son of former boss of Rivers State Maintenance Agency, Samuel Agwo in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

The exchange of vows took place at the Rivers State Ecumenical Centre, Port Harcourt, while the reception was at the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre and Sports complex.

Guests at the wedding ceremony included former Delta state governor James Ibori, Dino Melaye, Delta state governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state, Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo state and many others.

Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter

Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter
Photos from the wedding of PDP National chairman, Uche Secondus? daughter

#Newsworthy…

FG promise, says Ajaokuta steel co. set to be resuscitated.

The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to resuscitating the Ajaokuta Steel Company, assuring that the troubled state enterprise has not been neglected.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu, who was represented by the acting Director, Steel and Non-Ferrous metals, Engr Olasupo Kolawole stated this at a workshop on stimulation and promotion of activities of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the metal sector at the weekend in Ilorin.

Eng Kolawole said “for the past two three months now, you will see the trend going on in the steel sector; the President and his entourage went to Russia last two months for negotiation on how to bring Ajaokuta up. The underground work is still on going, [and] hopefully by January everything will be carried by the government of Russia and Federal Government of Nigeria on how to bring Ajaokuta Steel Company to the limelight again.

“Ajaokuta is an integrated plant comprising about 43 industries in one particular place. If Ajaokuta should come up, I believe the steel market in the whole of West Africa, Ajaokuta will take over; if Ajaokuta should come up, it will take care of all West African countries, supplying them all type of steel products, including the local steel which will save us the foreign exchange that we use in importing steel products.”

On local manufacturing, he said: “That is part of what we are doing now; the small and medium enterprises in that sector are very important… Ajaokuta is the upstream, while the lower is the downstream, the public contact with these lower downstream, we are trying to sensitise and promote them and what will improve their productivity in terms of operation, in terms of how to source for funds to carry out their operation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu stated that “the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, which is the organ of government responsible for ensuring the growth and sustainability of the metal sector in Nigeria, has recognized the SMEs as the engine of growth for the development of the metal industry in Nigeria. The SMEs contributes significantly to wealth creation, employment generation and increase in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

Related: Firm promotes SMEs through business connect fair
“Importation of metal products has lead to a major drain in the nation’s foreign exchange. We import all kinds of metal products, even those produced within the country, because the quality of products made in Nigeria are not comparable with those imported and the quantity of metal products made in Nigeria cannot meet the demand in the country. Imported products are also in higher demand in Nigeria due to the fact that they are cheaper.

“This trend has several negative implications which creates ripple effects, [including] overwhelming poverty due to folding up of SMEs, which leads to several jobs being lost, importation continuously [being] increased and reduction of GDP. It is against the backdrop of this and the need to change this narrative that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development initiated this project.

“The aim and objectives of this workshop is basically to sensitise the SMEs in the metal industry in Nigeria on their importance in the sector, the role the government is expected to play to help in SME growth, and strategies the SMEs can adopt to develop their business to be able to produce greater quantity and highly quality metals, so that metal products produced in Nigeria will be able to compete favorably with imported products.

“It is no longer news and I believe we are all aware that the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, and the Minister of State, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, declared the growth of the metal industry a priority, and the Ministry is ready to support metal production in Nigeria.

“A workshop was held recently to fashion out a downstream mineral policy to the consumption and utilisation of Nigeria’s locally produced metals,” he said.

Also speaking at the workshop, the acting Director (Steel and Non-Ferrous metals), Engr Olasupo Kolawole, said “this is the first time the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is organising this programme in North Central and Kwara State, in particular.

“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development initiated this programme in 2012 with the aim of creating awareness amongst the SMEs in the metal sector, comprising of foundries, fabricators, welders, manufacturers of spare parts, operators in aluminum extrusion and allied products.

“It is the vision, which is to facilitate the transformation of minerals and metal sector for sustainable industrial growth and economic surplus, of the Ministry to see these classes of operators in the metal sector fully integrated with other stakeholders in the industry.”

The Stimulation and Promotion Workshop is an annual event of the Steel and Non-Ferous Metals Department of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development which is rotated amongst the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. A sensitisation exercise was conducted by relevant officers of the department in November 2019 preparatory to this workshop. The exercise was to identify the metals sector SMEs in the selected states, inspect their operational processes and administer questionnaires to the operators to extract necessary information.

The information generated from the returned questionnaires provided the Ministry with the operators’ contacts, infrastructural needs, equipment requirements, operating capacities, and challenges faced. The database generated from the North Central Zone (B) will aid the Ministry in formulating favourable policies for the SMEs

Furthermore, the Ministry has also invited relevant reputable stakeholders/partners to make presentations on critical subject areas to improve the performances of the SMEs in the metals sector.

The invited resource persons will be addressing the operators on the following: Welding and Fabrication Technology with respect to SMEs in the metals sector, the Imperatives of Industrial Shop Floors Safety and Best practices the funding Challenges of SMEs and Strategies to Access Funding for SMEs in the metals sector and the Role of SMEDAN in Strengthening Metals Sector SMES for greater contribution to National GDP.

#Newsworthy…

Oshiomhole warned by Kinsmen over denigrating Philip shaibu.

…says violence can only compound his problems

Kinsmen of National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has warned him against denigrating office of the Edo State Deputy Governor, presently occupied by Hon Philip Shaibu.

The Oshiomhole’s kinsmen under the auspices of Estako Solidarity Forum (ESF) said the constant attack on the office of Deputy Governor was an affront on Governor Godwin Obaseki and Edo people at large.

Oshiomhole had on Friday launched fresh attack on Shaibu saying “Let me send a message to Philip about his propensity for violence. If he is not careful, his case will that of he who rides on the back of a tiger. Where does it end?

“Violence will not take him anywhere. It can only compound his problems.”

But National Coordinator of ESF, Comrade Seidu Momoh, said Oshiomhole’s comment showed he is venting his frustration that his plot to use Shaibu to destabilise Obaseki’s administration has hit the rock.

Comrade Momoh said Oshiomhole should be thankful to Shaibu for helping to stabilise his administration for eight years.

Momoh stated that the suspension of Oshiomhole from the APC at his own Ward was a testimony that the people are now aware of what he truly represents.

Read Also; Edo APC crisis: Oshiomhole’s faction dares Obaseki
He said the entire Uzairue clan and Estako at large would not sit and allow Oshiomhole humiliate their son who is the highest political office holder in Edo North senatorial district.

According to him, “We are here to warned Oshiomhole to stop calling the Edo Deputy Governor a violent person.

“Oshiomhole did his tenure peacefully and there was no trouble. Shaibu helped him to succeed throughout the eight years.

“Is it now that he has been politically emasculated that he wants the world to believe Shaibu is a violent person.

” Shaibu was critically injured during the fight to wrest the Edo Assembly from the grip of the PDP and Oshiomhole became the greatest beneficiary. There are several other things Shaibu helped Oshiomhole achieved and at that time, he was not a violent person because it suited Oshiomhole’s quest to achieve more political power.”

#Newsworthy…

Just in – Senate demands sum of N2.1trn for constituency projects.

…sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah

Members of the National Assembly would henceforth be allocated N2.1trillion to execute constituency projects if a Bill that seeks to set aside 20 per cent of the nation’s annual budgets for that purpose becomes law.

The Senate on Wednesday passed for second reading a bill which seeks to legalize constituency projects and also dedicate at least 20 per cent of annual budgets for lawmakers’ zonal intervention projects.

Going by the N10.594trillion 2020 Budget recently passed by both chambers of the National Assembly, the lawmakers are expected to get at least N2.1trillion, representing 20 per cent of the budget for constituency projects.

The Bill titled: “Constituency projects (budgetary provisions) Bill, 2019” was sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra North)

In her lead debate, Senator Oduah noted that one of the unique features of the nation’s democratic journey so far is the concept of ’Constituency Projects’.

According to her, available statistics show that 70 per cent of Nigerians live in the rural areas and the intention of the Bill is to ensure that good governance is delivered to these crucial areas.

“The Bill is also intended to correct the top-bottom approach of governance and replace it with the bottom-top approach,” she said.

She noted that constituency projects have become a veritable means of attracting federal presence to various communities in Nigeria

“If not for these projects, majority of federal constituencies would not have a single federal project due to lopsided nature of project allocation in the budget,” Oduah said.

According to her, constituency projects are not peculiar to Nigeria as similar mechanisms have been institutionalized in Kenya, Uganda, India and Tanzania.

“Instead of vilifying the National Assembly on the constituency project, people should advocate for an institutional framework for the implementation of the constituency projects as it is the case in Kenya.

“This Bill therefore is an attempt at providing both institutional and legislative frame work for the operation of constituency projects in Nigeria thereby making it part of our National Budget,” Oduah added.

She further insisted that while it is true that Local Government councils have the responsibility of developing local communities, “the Federal Government has the overall responsibility of providing federal presence in these areas through developmental projects.

“There is no way this can be achieved without the input of the parliamentarians who are the representatives of the people at the federal level.”

In his contribution, the Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, supported the Bill.

According to Abdullahi, who represents Niger North, “I think it is only very fair to ensure that every part of this country have that sense of belonging, those little interventions as democratic dividends.”

He added: “Like the lead debater said, there are a lot of interpretations, misinformation and even disinformation out there and it is very obvious that if we are to look at the intent of the Nigeria constitution that states we must act in a manner that gives every constituency a sense of belonging and that national feeling, then you agree with me that it is only through the instrumentality of the constituency projects that every part of Nigeria is getting, no matter how little, something that comes from the federal government.”

Senators approved that the Bill be read a second time when it was put to voice vote by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

#Newsworthy…

PANDEF – Without Restructuring, there will be no Peace in the Nation.

National Chairman, Pan- Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Commodore Idongesit Nkanga says restructuring is the only panacea to myriads of challenges facing the country. He noted that without restructuring, it would be difficult for Nigeria to move forward. He spoke with TUNDE THOMAS on this and other national issues.

The present state of the nation has continued to be a source of concern to many stakeholders. Are you one of those bothered especially with the rising insecurity, kidnapping, banditry, and even the economy?

The bitter truth is that we are in a dire situation in the country. Things are not going the way they should go, and we need to find urgent solutions to the series of crises currently plaguing the nation. For those who are saying that all is well, they are the sycophants who you always find singing praises of any government in power. In truth, this set of people knows that all is not well but because of selfish, and personal reasons, they will continue to deceive those in authority that they are the best to have happened to the country. These people are not patriots but self-serving politicians, and individuals, and you find some of them even in the government.

Some of these are those who will say that Nigerian roads are not that bad when everything points to the contrary. They are the same set of people who will say that Nigerians are not hungry when it is obvious that poverty, and hunger have become more manifest, and more pronounced. Now if you have some of these people saying these things working directly with President Muhammadu Buhari, then how can Buhari know the true situation of things in the country? With those people working with him saying these kinds of things, it will be very difficult for Buhari to feel the right pulse of Nigerians. Buhari’s aides are not giving him the right advice. How can they be telling us that all is well when kidnappers, and bandits are having a field day in some parts of the country? Insecurity today has become a big monster that is threatening the whole country. If all is well, as these people want Nigerians to believe, why are some state governors now openly negotiating with kidnappers, and bandits? Why are Nigerians afraid of travelling on our highways again? One major problem with our leaders is that they live in denial. They pretend, and want us to believe as if Nigerians are fools that all is well. The bitter truth is that Nigeria of today is not the Nigeria envisaged by the nation’s founding fathers. We need to take steps to correct injustices that abound all over the place. It is very annoying when I hear some Nigerians saying that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable. I find this very funny. How can anybody say that? Even the nation’s founding fathers sat down to negotiate the terms of our coming together. But all these were jettisoned when unitary system was introduced to replace true federalism that was in practice between 1960-1966,and since then Nigeria has been plunged into series of crises as a result of injustices.

Then, what’s the way out?

Although they want us to believe that we are a federal state but nothing can be farther from the truth than this. We are not practicing true federalism, and that’s why we are having these series of crises. We have to restructure. Without restructuring, Nigeria may not know peace. Restructuring will take us back to true practice of federalism, and when we do this there will be peace. But as long as some people want the present status quo to remain, there will continue to be agitations for justice. One of the best ways to move forward is for us to implement the recommendations of the 2014 national confab. There were over 600 recommendations put together by over 492 eminent delegates drawn from the nation’s six geo-political zones. The solution to Nigeria’s problems lies in the implementation of the confab’s reports. Why President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to implement the confab’s recommendations is baffling. Or are we expecting solutions to Nigeria’s problems to come from heaven? If we have the courage to restructure, everybody will benefit. Even those who have apprehension about restructuring will benefit most. To me, North will benefit more from restructuring.

In what way will the North benefit from restructuring?

It is very simple. Restructuring will take us back to the true practice of federalism. It will return us to that glorious era when agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy. It will take us back to the era where each region was developing resources in its domain for economic benefits. That was the golden period of groundnut pyramid in Kano, when you also have cotton being planted on large commercial scale in the North. That period you also have cocoa boom in the Southwest, and palm oil, and rubber in the Southeast. It is unlike now when everybody depends on crude oil resources and how to share it. It is very wrong for us to depend solely on oil. Nigeria is not the only country blessed with oil but other countries blessed with oil such as the United Arab Emirates are using their oil wealth to diversify their economy. Not only that they are also using their oil wealth to transform their nations, to build infrastructures, and that’s why today everybody including Nigerians are rushing to Dubai. If the authorities in the United Arab Emirates have not used their oil wealth to transform Dubai, will everybody be rushing to Dubai? Here, what have we done with our oil wealth? Back to my take on North, I believe with its abundant agricultural resources that the North will benefit more from restructuring. Restructuring must now even be taken serious because we have been told that oil that we all rely upon, and which we are all quarrelling over how to share its allocation will soon dry up. There is no way we can attain the desired greatness if we continue this way. Some people even continue to blame colonialism, and military rule for the challenges facing us as a nation. But are we the only country to be colonized, or are we the only country to be ruled by the military? At a time some countries like France and some others were under military rule, but today they are great nations. Until we do the needful we will continue to face series of challenges, which are keeping us down. Imagine, how can we develop if as a nation of 200 million people we still generate less than 5,000 megawatts of power supply. We are operating unitary system calling it federalism. We have not been humble enough to do what we are supposed to do.

Some groups in the Niger-Delta recently accused the Federal Government of marginalizing the region despite some of the development going on in the area. Why?

It is true that the present federal government is marginalizing the Niger-Delta. In 2016, leaders of the Niger-Delta presented a 16 point agenda for the development of the region to President Muhammadu Buhari but as of today it is only half out of our 16 point demands that has been fulfilled, and that’s the establishment of Maritime University in Delta state. Now if somebody scored half out of 16,will you call that a pass mark? The situation in Niger-Delta is very frustrating. Recently PANDEF organized a retreat, and President Buhari’s Special Assistant on Niger-Delta Affairs, Mr. Ita Enang was in attendance, and we used the opportunity of his attendance to send a message to Buhari through him that three years after, we are still waiting for him to implement the 16-point agenda for the development of Niger-Delta. The East-West road they promised to do is still there. The promise has not been fulfilled.

When we talk, some people will be saying that what did the former President Goodluck Jonathan do for Niger-Delta when he was there? But this is very wrong. Was Jonathan elected as the President of Nigeria or the President of Niger-Delta? If Jonathan as a leader then had shown some bias for the Niger-Delta, it is the same Nigerians that will also accuse him of being partisan. We don’t want excuses, we want Buhari to do the needful, and it doesn’t matter whether the people of Niger-Delta voted for him or not. Buhari is President of Nigeria, and therefore he should be President for all.

The injustice against the people of Niger-Delta is too much. Imagine since 1960, 59 years ago since Nigeria got independence, there has been no rail line between Lagos to Akwa-Ibom-Calabar. Yet you have rail network in other parts of the country, and the resources being used for this purpose is from Niger Delta. What an injustice. It is a shame that those who are producing the wealth of the nation are being abandoned. A child born in Akwa-Ibom state doesn’t know how a train looks like except he sees it in a picture or when he is taken on a trip outside the state to other parts of the country where you have rail lines. They are even talking now about constructing a rail line between Daura, and Niger Republic, another project that will be bankrolled with Niger-Delta resources. Why are we so insensitive in this country?

Look at another injustice against the people of Niger-Delta, and that has to do with the order that all the international oil companies operating in the country should relocate to the Niger-Delta and yet there has been no compliance. They are yet to effect the order. The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR is planning to build its headquarters in Abuja but why not in one of the oil communities of the Niger-Delta? We are so blessed in Niger-Delta but we are also so bruised. But why? We are not progressing as a nation because of injustice. Niger-Delta people are suffering because of oil pollution, and production. Gas flaring has destroyed our farms while recurring oil pollution has destroyed fishing business in the region, and those in authority do not pity us. It is very sad that while our resources in the Niger-Delta is being used to develop other parts of the country; our own people have been abandoned and neglected.

But there have always been reports that trillions of naira has been spent on the development of the Niger-Delta over the years……….

Cuts in…And where are the projects? At least there must be visible things to see as evidence. Where are these evidences? This is why we support the recent plans by the federal government to carry out a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. We view this as part of the anti-corruption campaign, and we support it. We want all the names of the contractors that have been given contracts to execute in the Niger-Delta to be published. We want to know those who have performed, and also those who failed. We want to know those who have raped or been raping Niger-Delta. There should be no cover up. PANDEF will resist any cover up because we want those who have been exploiting Niger-Delta to be exposed. We are interested in knowing the truth because what they have been telling us is that trillions has been spent to develop Niger-Delta but we can’t see any evidence or evidences.

Some groups in the North recently called for scrapping of zoning in 2023 but….

Cuts in…Although zoning is not in the constitution but if it is an arrangement that will enhance peace, and unity in the country, why not retain it? For me, it is not north or south that matters or Christianity or Islam that we should be talking about, what should matter to us is how to look for solutions to Nigeria’s problems. We should address the rot, and the decay in the country. Our goal should be how to have a nation where everybody will have a sense of belonging. We should not be talking about parties or religion but we should be talking about what will bind us together as a nation. We should think of Nigeria, and not of selfish, and personal interests. Break up is not the answer to Nigeria’s problems. We’ve come a long way since 1914 when the amalgamation of the North, and the South took place.

#Newsworthy…

Come 2023, Nigerians should vote for competency and scold ethnicity – CEO, Jude Elswitch LTD.

…give his reasons

Dr Jude Adindu Nnanna is the Chief Executive Officer of Jude Elswitch Limited , an Electrical Engineering firm, businessman and founder, GLAD Foundation that renders humanitarian services. In this interview, he identified the major problems of Nigeria and proffered possible solutions to them. As one who believes in one and indivisible Nigeria, he enjoined the citizens to always do what would help to strengthen the peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.

What have you identified as major problems of Nigeria?

Obviously, Nigeria’s main problem is tribalism, and others are religion and selfishness.

I would say that Nigerians are managing to survive. No one will deny the fact that things are very tough in the country as a result of mismanagement of public funds. Those in control of the affairs know that. However, what we should do, is to stop the blame game and think of how to get out of the situation, and move up to the next level they promised us.

How did Nigeria get to this serious point of decay?

Let us not think much about the past because military incursion took Nigeria back for 50 years, whereby the constitution was suspended and we were ruled by decree. So, it will take sometime before we would get out of it. If those military were people with vision for nation building, we would have been counting our blessings by now. But unfortunately, they were all adventurists, who have ambitions to get into power.

What is the solution to Nigeria’s challenges?

I advise that we should start to empower people, think more about education, how much that has been voted for it and how much that should have been voted for it. Health wise, do we have the world standard to look at? Security wise, we should also know how many policemen in place to secure the people as UN recommends? Shelter, electricity and other facilities should be made available for the people, as applicable in other countries. If all these are in order, things will certainly change for good. Importantly, this is the right time for our political office holders to sacrifice part of their take home packages and goodies they receive, that make them not to leave. Many of them do not care about those that are down and how many heads that have been crushed. Nigerians should not continue to keep quiet and pretend not to know this.

However, God made it that we have inherited one country. Therefore, what we need is a President who has the vision and mission to make Nigeria great, who will make sure that the walls that tribalism, religion and the one some selfish people have built, are gradually made to diminish. You will find out that every Nigerian’s interest is to get food at cheaper rate, be clothed, have shelter over his head, his children given access to education, women and the children have access to health care facilities, and security of lives and property ensured. Nigeria is presently under a serious security threats, and the efforts being put in place to curtail it are not enough. Maybe, the so-called leaders think that if armed robbers come, they will not have access to them, forgetting that a stray bullet may touch them in one way or the other. So, the issue of security needs to be given more serious attention.

Many are warming up from the North and South to succeed President Buhari in 2023, agitating that it is their turn, what do you say about such move?

For me, talking about who becomes the president should not be a religious or tribal war. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian was there, and did not turn the country to a christian nation. Dr Goodluck Jonathan is from South- South and a Christian too was there, and did not turn Nigeria to a Christian nation, or turn his hometown Otueke to London or America. Even the North had it. Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Yar Adua were all there and did not turn Nigeria to an ethnic or religious nation or turn their communities and villages to Dubai. For that reason, I should say that what every Nigerian should be talking about is having somebody who will think about Nigeria, at the helm of affairs. It may be difficult now, but a journey of thousand miles , starts with a single step. I believe that it is doable. I see that the origin of the Nigerian Youth Service scheme and the idea behind it is the Nigerianess whereby, some people who are still in their formative ages and hot- headed people who come out from the universities, are meant to serve in areas, outside their own. Igbo are sent to the North or South South, Hausa to South West or South East, Yoruba to the North or South East etc. The idea is for them to experience and interact with people of different cultural and religious background, and then come out to admire that diversity of Nigeria that makes Nigeria to be unique and beautiful. If that is the case, I know some Hausa live in Igbo and Yoruba lands and inter marry. Also, Igbo inter marry with Yoruba and other ethnic groups. There are many Nigerians who are neither hundred percent Igbo, Hausa nor Yoruba. If these things are done at that level and it is working for us, why can’t we apply it at the national level? I believe it is possible. I have read people’s views on this matter and therefore do not subscribe to the idea of president of Nigeria based on tribe or religion.

What do you think is the implication of electing a president of a country based on tribe or religion?

I could remember when Nelson Mandela came out from prison, he said if he could move the majority black against the minority white, he has supported another apartheid which he was imprisoned for 29 years. If you talk about a Muslim being the president of Nigeria and emphasise on it, and make him realise his muslim background, automatically, you are trying to rub it to their faces of Christians and some others groups who are neither muslims nor christians. After all, what benefit do muslims derive in ensuring that a Muslim becomes the president of Nigeria? Can they articulate such benefits and place them on the table for people to see? Also, can the Christians bring their own agenda on the table why they want a Christian President in Nigeria? The rain falls and sun shines for everybody. When the flood comes, they do not discriminate. They do not know whether one is a christian, muslim, Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba. If we are able to make Nigerian constitution sacrosanct and allow everyone to practise whatever he is practicing, like freedom of association, religion etc, how then will we be talking about a president under religion and ethnicity?

It is also enshrined in the constitution that no religion or tribe is superior to the other. So, we should be talking about Nigerianess, not religion or tribe as we are seeing today.

What is the way forward for Nigerian politics, especially as it concerns 2023?

We need to start now to draw the roadmap for the redemption of Nigeria, it could be Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and others, they should start now to interact with us. Our campaign should be that we want a Nigerian who will defend our constitution. Look at it and say which areas are amendable. I do not believe in the agitation of many Nigerians saying; ‘it is our turn’ to be president. It must be Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa.

Do you believe that Igbo are marginalised in Nigeria?

If we talk about marginalisation, you should understand that politics is a game of number. The one with higher number will surely suppress the lower. So, if any ethnic group like Igbo is feeling marginalised, her prayers should be working towards having a Nigeria, where everybody has a say and fair share. The system should be made in such a way that if anyone is going to the centre with the mindset that he is representing his tribe or religion, he will fail and go back to square one.

What are the solutions to the political problem in Nigeria?

What I am thinking is that there should be a definition of nationhood, vision and dream. Until that is done, we will not make headway. Therefore, the National Orientation Agency needs to work out what should be the common vision or dream of Nigeria as a nation. And, the indoctrination of everyone should be that this is the Nigeria of our dream. There should be time attached to it. After some months or years, we go back and assess how much we have been able to achieve, how far we have gone on our dream and vision to nationhood.

Are you saying the North could continue in 2023?

I want a Nigerian who knows what the problems of Nigeria are and what are the solutions. He will be able to convince us starting from now, and not during the campaign period. He should be on the television, newspapers, social media telling us the kind of Nigeria we should aspire for and the roadmap to achieving greater nation. Whether Hausa, Igbo , Yoruba or minorities, they should start now to interact with us. No Nigerian has the sole birth right to be president of the country.

What steps should be taken to make Nigeria one?

We have the Ministry of information and National Orientation Agency who should come out to know who are Nigerians? What are they expected to do? And what they should expect from Nigeria. Unfortunately, what we have passed through in the country, has made the minds of every Nigerian so distorted, to an extent that people have completely lost hope in the nationhood. So, it is the duty of some of the organised institutions to come out with the civic studies, to let us know our stand in the country. Then, the Federal Government should give room for anyone who wants to project what Nigerianess means, and give opportunity for people to be heard.

You run an NGO called GLAD Foundation, what are you into?

We give little assistance to the less privileged in the society to survive, because we found out that the major thing now is survival. We do that by giving them some information, counseling where needed, encouraging them to engage in things that are profitable, and by supporting them in the various things they do. Give people hope, government, the nation and in God. We now have a wide coverage.

In what ways do Glad Foundation give hope to people?

You see, if you see someone that is in need, it is not enough to say God bless him, rather, you should also do that by putting hands in the pocket to offer something or use your substances to bless the person. So, we go beyond God bless you.

How far has GLAD Foundation gone?

Through our three programmes in a year -Easter Glad feast and interactions with the youths in December, we have been able to let the young people know that they can do it. We tell them that tomorrow will be better, if you start with something today. In fact, we are working in our little way. The best plan for the future, is to start doing something now.

#Newsworthy…

UN climate summit – We are been challenged by civilization – Pope

…common good and of a change of perspective.

The world is facing “a challenge of civilisation” in the global attempt to mitigate climate change, Pope Francis said in a Wednesday message to the UN climate summit in Madrid.

The Argentine pontiff, a vocal climate campaigner, said: “We are facing a ‘challenge of civilisation’ in favour of the common good and of a change of perspective.

“There remains a window of opportunity, but we must not allow it to close.

“We need to take advantage of this occasion through our responsible actions in the economic, technological, social and educational fields, knowing very well how our actions are interdependent.”

Hinting at the Fridays for Future movement, the pope noted how “Young people today show a heightened sensitivity to the complex problems that arise from this (climate) ’emergency’.

“We must not place the burden on the next generations to take on the problems caused by the previous ones.

“Instead, we should give them the opportunity to remember our generation as the one that renewed and acted on – with honest, responsible and courageous awareness – the fundamental need to collaborate in order to preserve and cultivate our common home,” Francis concluded.

#Newsworthy…

We are not a threat to national security – OMSL tells Senate.

The move to award contract to protect nation’s deep sea to an Israeli Company for $195 million stirred concerns in the Senate yesterday. A investigative by the Senate on the matter became rowdy, as stakeholders in the nation’s waterways security disagreed sharply.

The Joint Senate Committee raised concerns over the fact that an Israeli vessel loaded with security officers and weapons was heading towards Nigeria to commence the implementation of the security contract.

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, who was represented by Navy Chief of Training and Operations, Tarioworio Dick, at the public hearing, though confirmed the story, however informed the Committee that the Israeli security vessel would be mainly manned by Nigeria Navy.

But the management of Ocean Marine Solutions, (OMSL) has told the Senate that it was an accredited and highly respected Nigerian maritime security solutions provider that operates legally and operating in line with the law of the land.

According to OMSL, it has operations centres at key strategic locations in Port Harcourt, Warri and Lagos and its activities are not and will never be threat to the country’s security, adding that what it does is of the overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Chairman of OMSL, Captain Hosa Okunbo described as unacceptable the dismantling of the SAA Contract agreement, adding that with his contribution to the development of Nigeria and with the resources put in, getting to know of NPA’s decision on the pages of newspapers, was very insultive.

Captain Okunbo who took a swipe at the NPA for denigrating him and destroying his hard earned integrity, said, “OMSL started in 2007 at the height of militancy where this country would have been producing less than 300barrels per day. Admiral Augustus Aikhomu late who was the first chairman of OMS and also who has been the chief of Naval Staff was the one that came up with this idea.

“At this time it was just an intervention and we wrote to the Navy In 2007, we bought only three vessels, we started this business with only three vessels because it was pertinent to open mistras which was short in 70,000 per day. There were bullet holes on shells EA field. Adax was attacked on daily bases and shell was going to close the whole of their eastern production.

#Newsworthy…